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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pickled Hot Pepper Rings

  • 4 cups chopped hot peppers (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt

  1. 1.
    Prepare a small canning pot and 2 pint jars. Place 2 new lids in a small pot of water and bring to the barest simmer.
  2. 2.
    Combine vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. 3.
    When brine is boiling, add pepper rings and stir to submerge. 
  4. 4.
    As soon as the brine returns to a boil, remove the pot from the heat.
  5. 5.
    Funnel peppers into jars and top off with brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  6. 6.
    Tap jars gently to remove any trapped air bubbles. If necessary, add more brine to return the headspace to 1/2 inch.
  7. 7.
    Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (start your timer when the water returns to a boil, not when the jars first go in).
  8. 8.
    When time is up, remove jars from canner and let cool on a folded kitchen towel.
  9. 9.
    When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals by grasping edges of lids and carefully lifting jars. If lids hold fast, seals are good.
  10. 10.
    Store jars in a cool, dark place. They are ready to eat with in 48 hours, but can be kept up to one year.

Thank Goodness We Have Trees

National Forest Products Week occurs and is celebrated the third week in October yearly. There are many products that come from the forest. Forest products come from a renewabl and sustainable resource. Wood products can be recycled, are durable and energy efficient, and healthy for the planet.
The week that recognizes forest products is also a great time to recognize the people who work in and managed our forest, the businesses that make the products and how this impacts our lives.

Forest offer the product resin. Resin is a goop that forms a protective coating around the plant wound. Microorganisms and insects can not penetrate the hard coating that tree resin creates. Resin is an important product that is gathered from pine trees. Rosin is a hard resin that is used in paint, varnishes and soap making. Rosin also is used to put a better grip on balls and bats of baseball. Oleoresin is a type of resin that turpentine is made from. Turpentine is used in paint, varnish, waterproofing, and shoe polish. The third type of resin is Gum Resin that is used to make chemicals.

Believe it or not many food and beverage products contain chemicals that are tree based. Flavorings and other chemicals may all be chemicals that are tree based. Even bubble gum relies on trees to make their gum chewier. Cellulose an important material that helps make up trees is used as food thickener in snack food, milk shakes, ice cream,  cake frosting and pancake syrup. Cellulose also is used to make eyeglass frames, steering wheels, hairbrush handles, and photographic film.

piano keys
rayon - books
fishing floats - inks
telephone books
varnish - atlases and maps
price tags - ping pong balls
tires - umbrella handles -signs
automobile instrument panels
space craft reentry shields - newspaper
photographic film - newspapers - posters
football helmets - toilet seats - guitars
road building materials - insulation
shatterproof glass - artificial vanilla flavoring
cork - vacuum cleaner bags - movies - stadium seats
adhesives - decorations - turpentine - camphor - waxes
fireworks - crayons - tannin - charcoal - pine oil - pitch
musical instruments - perches for birds of prey - toilet paper
milk cartons - flooring - bark for landscaping - cardboard
grocery bags - furniture - chewing gum - paper towels
oil spill control agents - Christmas trees - hockey sticks
wildlife habitat - cosmetics - roofs - baby foods - cider - vitamins
cooking utensils - photographic film - lacquer - pallets - rubber gloves
mulch - clean water - golf tees - egg cartons - nail polish - fence posts - toys
toothpaste - eyeglass frames - syrup - antacids - shampoo - rubber gloves
menthol - electrical outlets - medicines - energy for electricity - plates and bowls
sausage casings - torula yeast - rulers - wooden blocks - houses - notebook paper - oars
plywood - paper plates - computer casings - stain remover - coffee filters - toothpicks
movie tickets - carpet and upholstery backsides - imitation bacon - diapers - horse corrals
postcards - tax forms - sponges - shade - particle board - shoe polish - luggage - bowling alley lanes
postage stamps - colognes - animal bedding - irrigation piping - fruit pie filling - golf balls - game boards
suspending agent for drinking soda - pencils - dry wall - baby cribs - baseball bats - lumber - decoys - kites
magazines -ice cream thickener - step ladders - birthday cards - broom sticks - cider - ceiling tiles
crutches - backyard play sets - axe handle - food labels - 2 x 4's - candy wrappers
scenery - party invitations - disinfectants - cd inserts - gummed tape - fruit
railroad ties - shelter belts - puzzles - swings - baking cups
buttons - cutting boards
benches - bird houses
stereo speakers
garden stakes
stairways - beds
tables - barrels
window frames
bulletin boards
linoleum - seesaws
fishing boats - billboards
disposable medical clothing
church pews - totem poles - desks
How many other tree products can you list?



Today is Hagfish day.....  celebrated since 2009 it always occurs on the third Wednesday of October

Hagfish have no bones, jaws or scales. They are very much eel like and just like a sea hag they are quite ugly. The hagfish is more than ugly as it also oozes out slime at a quick rate. It has been shown that the ooze can fill up two gallon bucket in mere minutes. The hagfish loves to dine on dead animals. Their dining habits starts by crawling through the carcasses mouth, anus or gills and eats from the inside out. 
hagfish slime

The hagfish is not fun to look at in fact many consider it ugly or scary. Today, we celebrate the fact that th hagfish still has a function in the world and should be recognized as well. 

National Chocolate Cupcake Day with a Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcake recipe

Chocolate lovers and cupcake lovers should all be well pleased as today is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. Make them any way you want the chocolate will shine through. The recipe we shared to day is Halloween themed and yes a chocolate cupcake. Before we get there though here are a few trivia facts about cupcakes.

Did you know, that originally cupcake liners were meant to do more than to make it easy to remove cupcakes from the pan. A cupcake liner helps the cook out as by using them the baker does not need to grease or flour the pan.

The oldest cupcake recipe goes as far back as 1796. Ameleia Simms wrote a recipe in the cook book "American Cookery" The recipe talked of small cakes and did not use the word cup cake. The term cupcake was first used in a late 19th century. The term refereed to cakes made from ingredients that were measured by the cupful. The recipe would have been something like 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour and 4 eggs. The recipe was baked in teacups or small clay pots. Eventually a multi-cup pan would be invented.

Now... onto the recipe

Pumpkin Double Chocolate Cupcakes

3 1/8 ounces (3/4 cup, spoon and level) all-purpose flour
1 1/8 ounces (1/3 cup) cocoa powder (I used dutch-processed)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of ground all spice
3/8 teaspoon salt
6 ounces (3/4 cup) canned pumpkin
4 ounces (1/2 cup) plain greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 3/4 ounces (1/2 cup) brown sugar
3 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
3 ounces (1/2 cup) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips, chopped (or use mini chips)

Chocolate Spiderwebs

2 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (chocolate baking chips would probably work too)

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 lb 8 ounces (6 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
heavy pinch of ground nutmeg
heavy pinch of ground all spice
heavy pinch of ground ginger
pinch of salt
orange gel icing color

Pumpkin Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, espresso powder, nutmeg, ginger, all spice, and salt and whisk to evenly combine.
In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, greek yogurt, white vinegar, and vanilla extract and stir together until smooth.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until well-combined. Add the whole egg and egg yolk one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Wipe down the bowl and beater as needed.
With the mixer on its lowest speed, add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in thirds, alternating between each and mixing each addition in just until partially incorporated. Once everything has been added, stop the mixer and add the chocolate chips. Use a flexible spatula to fold all of the ingredients together JUST until evenly combined.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin, dividing evenly between each muffin cup; each should be about 3/4 full – don’t overfill!* Smooth out the tops gently if needed. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean or the tops gently spring back to the touch. Cool cupcakes in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.** If not frosting immediately, store in an airtight container until ready to frost. Meanwhile, make chocolate spiderwebs.
Chocolate Spiderwebs:

Fit a piping bag with a small round tip (I used Wilton #2). Lay out a large sheet of parchment paper, on a tray for easy moving if desired. If you’d like to draw out your spider webs on the parchment first as a guide, do so with a pen or pencil and then flip the parchment over so you can pipe on the clean side. You can also download and print a guide online if you’re not comfortable with drawing your own webs.
Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 30-second increments, stirring between each increment, until smoothly melted. Alternatively, temper chocolate.
Transfer chocolate to the prepared piping bag and pipe spider webs on the parchment paper.*** Allow to sit at room temperature until fully set, or transfer to the refrigerator to set faster. Once set, carefully peel back parchment to release chocolate webs.
Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together until light, creamy, and smooth. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, ginger, salt, and about 1/3 of the confectioner’s sugar. Mix in, starting on low speed and increasing speed as the confectioner’s sugar starts incorporating and the frosting begins to look creamy. Continue adding the remaining confectioner’s sugar in the same manner until it has all been added, wiping down the bowl and beater as needed.
Once all sugar has been incorporated, increase mixer speed and beat frosting until smooth. Taste and add more salt or spices if desired. Add icing color and beat in until desired color is achieved. Transfer frosting to a piping bat fitted with your tip of choice (I used Ateco #827) and frost cooled cupcakes.
Top each frosted cupcake with a chocolate spiderweb.
Frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and will keep well for at least a few days, and up to about a week.

recipe source here

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Silent Solidarity

Students all over the nation gave up their voice today as they participated in a stand against abortion. Each and every day over 3,000 lives are taken away via abortion. These voices will never be heard so the students have decided to give up their own voice for the day.

Imagine one of five individuals will miss our generation because of abortion. Brothers, sisters, friends, peers and / or that special someone will never be born. Since 1973 via Roe v. Wade and legalizing the killing of pre born children many million children have died. They never met the world, enjoyed the holidays or met their families.

Perhaps next year you will wear a red arm band and take part in the National Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity.  A day of silence to stand up for those who have been silenced forever.

Fall Vegetable Pasta

8 ounces pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion or scallion
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 fistful fresh green beans, ends trimmed and cut to bite-size pieces
1 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped or 1 can tomatoes
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 small chili pepper, diced (add more or less to your taste)
Shredded Parmesan to top

Cook pasta according to instructions on the package.
Bring small pot of water to boil and cook green beans in it for 10 minutes or until tender.
Heat olive oil in pan until medium-high heat. Add onion, eggplant and zucchini and saute until onion is translucent and other vegetables have softened.
Add tomatoes and stir together, cooking until tomatoes have released their juice. Add diced chili pepper, salt and pepper.
Add green beans and pasta when finished cooking. Toss all ingredients together and top with Parmesan.

Scary Real Life Story::: Medical Treatment Gone Wrong

Reading history can be a bit scary. But just imagine that while we are at Halloween time those that lived history did it day to day life. Like take for example the psychiatrist that thought ice pick lobotomy could help those with depression or mood problems. Wow!! Can you imagine,,,, it really did happen.

Psychiatrist Walter Freeman introduced what he thought was a life changing medical procedure. the "ice-pick" lobotomy in 1946 was exactly like it sounds like. The doctor would tak an ice pick and jam it through your eye socket into your brain. Yes you were awake when this was going on. The doctor believed that too much emotion caused the depression and decided the emotional connection in the brain needed to be cut. Many after the procedure were changed but sometimes the change was from being paralyzed or being left mentally disabled.

Freeman took his traveling freak show across the country. Because there was few treatment for mentally ill many wanted the treatment. People would soon catch on that a knife in your brain may not be advanced medicine after all and the treatments would be stopped.

Bit of Haunted House History

Haunted house's exist to scare people. Haunted Houses have been around for quite some time. Spooky stories have been told for centuries as a way to entertain. Haunted houses are closely related to Halloween likewise Halloween would not be the same with out haunted houses. While there are those that may be truly haunted the Halloween haunted houses are often commercially done to raise funds.

The first haunted house that was man made dates back to the 19th century. A group of illusions and attractions in London introduced the public to a new form of entertainment. Marie Tussaud showcased was sculptures of decapitated French figures that included King Louis XVI and his wife Marie as well as many others who had met their death via guillotine. The exhibition in London was known as the "Chamber of Horrors"

A not so distance relative to the haunted houses of today can be dated back to Paris and the Grand Guignol theater where depictions of graphic dismemberment under director Max Maurey. It was a good sign that audiences would always be available for dramatic hauntings.

Halloween themed haunted houses in the Untied States started during the Great Depression. It was parents that looked for ways to distract young tricksters who other wise may be involved in other halloween pranks that could get them into trouble. Trick or treating and commercial haunted houses in the United States came into being around the same time in history.

The first houses were primitive in style. Families would decorate basements and hold "house to house" parties. Kids would travel basement to basement having fun scaring each other. It was Walt Disney who would build a haunted house that would become a cultural icon. The Haunted Mansion which was made to resemble famous haunted places included the Winchester Mystery house. Thousands of people have passed through the Haunted Mansion where a Grand Hall ballroom is also present.

Haunted House Fever would spread across the country. The Jaycees would become famous for raising money through haunted houses. Knott's Berry Farm in California would start hosting halloween night attractions as well. In the 1980s and 1990s when Hollywood was embracing slasher movies haunted houses would adopt such characters as Freddy Krueger, Jason, and others.

In our area there are haunted houses and there are other haunted events. The haunted fair ground, haunted trails, haunted forest so many ways to get your scare on. All are there to have a bit of fun.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Trick or Treat Safety Tips

Trick or Treating Safety Tips

plan a route

This route should be in an area that you are familiar with. It should not be a great distance away. A trick I have learned on my own is if you go trick or treating it is better to have many houses in a row than to have one with distance between the next. This will help cut down on complaints from the little goblins

Comfortable shoes are a must have. While decorative shoes to match costume are great in costume contest they are not needed for trick or treating. I have been with many that get tired of walking and their feet hurt shortly after starting to go house to house right after starting. Enjoy the night wear comfortable shoes

stay well lit ,,,,, reflective tape, flashlight
make sure costumes at walking length
avoid masks that make it hard to see or breathe

try to only trick or treat in areas that you know and always check childs candy

Old Fashioned Skillet Country Ham Steak

1 pound ham slice
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika

Melt butter in skillet and add ham, cooking until brown on both sides approximately 3-4 minutes each side.
Remove ham steak from pan and keep warm.
Add remaining ingredients; water, Dijon mustard, brown sugar and paprika to the pan and cook until sugar is dissolved, approximately five minutes.
Place ham steak back in the skillet and cook approximately five more minutes with caramelized glaze.

recipe source here

My Family

This week celebrate your family. It is a day to brag a bit about your family during My Family Week. International Early Years trainer, author and consultant Laura Henry is the name behind the act. Laura has worked with children and families for three decades and has recently focused on what the word family means to others.

Divorce and single parenting has become common in modern day but years ago this was not the case. Today's world still places a stigma on certain types of 'non-conventional' families. This has a lot to do with where others believe they belong in society. While every family is unique sometimes the part that makes them unique makes others see them as a lower value. Laura Henry wants the differences to be celebrated. Thus the creation of My Family Week 2017.

This is my daughters family She is a single mom trying her best to work a full time job and raise her 2 little sweet hearts. Me and Papa are of course doing our best to help out and loving every moment of it

This is my middle daughter and her husband, now of 3 years. They are a family of their own and while they would love to start a family have done so as of yet.

My son and his family. Once upon there was this beautiful girl who loved a boy very much. They dated a while in high school then split up and each went their own way. Few years pass before my son sees the girl on face-book. He thought about it and then contacted her to see how she had been. Seems that she had been married, divorced and had a child as well. This did not bother my son who had been raised with love and to be nonjudgmental. They talked for a while and then decided to meet up. Now a few years later and they are a married couple and my son is raising the little boy as his own son. This happy family makes this mama smile.

This is just 3 stories in my very large family . I could go on and on but for this post I think I will stop.

Skeleton Treat Bags


1 large marshmallow
6 yogurt covered pretzels
loose Halloween candy (candy corn, M&Ms, etc.)
black Wilton Food Writer
clear treat bag and tie

  1. Using a black food writer, carefully draw a skeleton face onto the marshmallow
  2. Stack up the pretzels and place them on a microwave-safe plate. In 5 second increments, microwave the pretzels so that the coating begins to soften, adhering the pretzels together. Place them into the freezer for about 5 minutes to set the coating 
  3. Put some loose candy into the treat bag. Then place the pretzel "body" into the bag.  

Set the marshmallow head onto the body

All that is left to do now that you have the skeleton built is to tie the bag closed.

craft source : thrifty fun

Walking bag of Bones

When we think of Halloween we often think about the things that scare us. One member of the Halloween frightening crew is the skeleton. In daily life we do not see human bones walking about. In Halloween time they want us to envision just that. Skeletons and skulls are everywhere to be seen. In costumes, decorations, greeting cards and in books and on t.v. Skeletons and ghost help to keep the memory of Halloween being a past solemn day--- the day of the dead. 

Celebrating the dead to many cultures is not sad or morbid. It is a celebration of life. Of the loved ones life, who they were and the hop that one day they will be seen again. All Soul's Day will see people in Brittany heading to the cemetery to pray for their ancestor's souls. Doing this helps them feel closer to the ancestors that have passed on.Day of the Dead in Mexico is as grand as Christmas with street peddlers selling holiday toys. The toys may be skeletons with moving legs and painted in bright colors and many times dressed up like Barbie. In America skeletons take a less liberal view but are still great fun on Halloween.